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no sad stories here, uplifting only
After reading all the sad stories of late I thought I'd post something a little more encouraging.
I've only been in AdSense since last year and I must admit I was very skeptical it could earn any real money as I already had a good revenue stream from the site that I didn't want to ruin. So, I tentatively only put a few links on a few pages, waited for Google media bot to do it's thing, and VOILA! $15/day on a limited test. Not a lot of money but very encouraging for just a few pages compared to some other programs I'd tried. So I increased the spread of AdSense on my site to a few more pages and get $25/day, still nothing earth shattering but it showed promise. Then I decided to just blanket the whole site with AdSense, throw caution to the wind, and see what happened.
The site broke $1k the first month.
Made some more changes here and there and it doubled again, and I kept messing with it for 3 months and it went up and up in little baby steps and seemed to hit a peak, a threshold I couldn't get beyond.
So here I am with my site at my theoretical "peak" and reading all these tales of woe of dropping CTR and CPM and that Google must be taking a bigger slice of the pie, etc. while watching my own CTR go up while my CPM was sinking lower by the day from record highs of $7 to record lows of under $2. The earnings were holding about the same thanks to very healthy traffic and a steady CTR. I'm thinking this is as good as it's going to get and be thankful my earnings are holding out.
However, I found it hard to believe that the price of all the ads displayed on my site were just dropping to nothing so I signed up for AdWords and took a quick look at those keywords and verified that I was right, prices were still at a decent premium but I wasn't getting the targetted ads I needed. Since ADWORDS for my desired keywords still seemed to be selling at a premium and assuming Google wasn't skimming massive amounts of money all of a sudden (as all the conspiracy theorists on the boards think) I came to realize there was only ONE POSSIBLE ANSWER: my site was STILL not truly optimized for AdSense and my "peak" was merely a temporary obstruction to bigger and better things.
So starting well over a month ago I went back and did some serious re-reading starting at Google itself on their "best practices" and case studies. Then I read a bunch of articles by so-called AdSense experts on everything regarding ad positioning, colors, blending, etc., some eye-tracking articles, lots of pages of Webmaster World (of course), and some additional SEO articles. After reading for almost a solid week came up for air and started working on the site again. I must admit, the fear of making all these changes tanking the whole site and watching it all crumble did cross my mind, but I'm a gambler and throwing caution to the wind jumped in with both feet and put my site back on a positive track.
When all the new work on the site was done and everything was in place the only thing left to do was wait, watch, and hope for the best.
After watching for about 6 weeks the results are in:
- Traffic up almost 75,000 visitors (maybe 100K by EOM)
- CTR up 1% (not alot, but it all counts)
- CPM up almost double last month
- Earnings have climbed to DOUBLE last month with 3 days to spare
I attribute the 3 factors that made this transition to:
1. Tightening my keywords and refining some content to be even more relevant per page to attract the exact ads I wanted.
2. Improved a bunch of SERPs by doing #1. and thus got the 75,000 new visitors and better CTR.
3. Testing changes in number of ad units, ad positions, colors, some blending, some not, seems to have also improved CTR but there's more testing to do.
This is obviously a work in progress, but my mental state about this is much different now than it was a couple of months ago when I thought "THIS IS IT, THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS". I was wrong, flat out wrong, and all it took was mentally starting from scratch and re-evaluating everything I thought I knew about the whole process, looking at it from different angles and basically trying "ADSENSE IMPLEMENTATION 2.0" on my web site.
Hope this encourages someone else to give it a shot as I'm a firm believer you can turn the tide on your AdSense earnings if you make the right positive changes to your site.
|On Feb 2 I lost my home page from google results. |
Ouch - that happened to me about a year ago and it took 6-8 weeks before it came back.
It was a dark and ugly time :)
|However, this doesnt count the main focus of the site which is all about getting consulting projects |
I too do consulting and contract programming and decided in January to stop taking on new projects and instead "consult" for myself which generates a long term recurring revenue stream. Instead of working a week for a week's pay I'm working a week for revenue to keep paying all year long, and next year, and hopefully the year after that. Kind of like selling software and collecting royalties without the tech support headaches, totally different paradigm and it took a while to get used to the idea and prove it was doable and sustainable.
Not tying to convince anyone to do this as my situation is obviously different from everyone else's, but I'm MUCH happier working on my own projects instead of jumping thru hoops to make a demanding customer happy. :)
I've stopped taking on new projects too except for the simplest things and just support my old customers. I'm too scared to stop completely cause I dont want to lose my skills and I don't trust the Ad technology, G, or anything else surrounding this industry.
The site was also supporting 2 other programmers with the projects but don't do that much anymore either because of the liability issues.
I thought I would never recover from the lost homepage but I'm doing about 30% above all time previous highs in Jan. If the homepage comes back I'll probably take the summer off :). I was considering starting another site using the homepage and a few other pages and cross link them but will hold off on that since I have 3000 inbound links to the homepage still.
I concur strongly with the post about the importance of targeted traffic. I'll go on to say that the topic itself is critical.
I have Site A, which brings me 25-30,000 hits a day (it's a seasonal site which is in season right now). It's specifically targeted. The other, Site B is an evergreen site that is also very specifically targeted. It generally gets 300-400 hits a day.
Despite the overwhelming disparity of visitors Site A over Site B, my clickthrough rate is much higher for Site B, and the ads tend to pay out MUCH higher for Site B. Why? The topic on Site B draws higher paying advertisers. Plus, people searching for the particular term which it now ranks #1 at in a major search engine are very likely to be interested in the items being advertised.
So while Site A and its 25-30k daily visitors is very nice (and targeted), Site B draws a much more desirable audience with a much higher likelihood for clickthroughs, so I end up making more from Site B, despite having 100 times fewer visitors than Site A. I do nothing to encourage clicks or to violate Google rules -- but in the case of Site B, people seem to be extremely interested in the ads, which leads to a CTR rate which is incredibly high, particularly compared with my other sites (including Site A).
Perhaps this would be clearer if I didn't have to use generalities (but those are the rules we abide by for the right to post in this forum). Targeted traffic is important, but targeted traffic that is likely to be interested in the advertising is even MORE important. A subtle difference for me is that the ads on Site A are generally related to the specific topic, whereas the ads on Site B are almost always a spot-on match (or very close therein). Keep in mind that this factor can play a role in the targeting process as well.
I'm in the process of setting up channels on my site but it gets a little confusing.
You are only allowed 100 channels, I have about 10 so far, I could see myself using more than 100 if I want to accurately track every page and use different styles of ads ect.
Any advice would be appreciated on setting up a tracking system before I have to change it 2 or 3 times to get it right.
|A subtle difference for me is that the ads on Site A are generally related to the specific topic, whereas the ads on Site B are almost always a spot-on match |
I ran into some of that and had to split some content into 2 pages so Google could get more specific.
|Any advice would be appreciated on setting up a tracking system |
My channels are flegling at best but my site is also dynamic and I have hundreds of specifics I'd like to track but with the current limitations it's just not possible. So what I did was create channels for each ad on the home page (amusingly they earn about the same) then created channels for each ad on each subsection of the site.
If I only had 500 channels I could do this right :)
The worst part of higher earnings is that increasingly larger pit in the bottom of my stomach that says it won't last. If it holds a couple of months maybe the daily panic will subside that I'm now getting every day until my earnings hit that magic sweet spot so I know I'm *SAFE* for another day.
Just take some of them $'s you earned from adsense and get a few other sources of income going. Don't put all your eggs into one basket.
I am new (last month joined).I am very happy from adsense that says everything.
Bill, for what itís worth, you inspired me to make a few changes, and WOW. I could kick myself for being so lazy before. CTR and CPM and most importantly earnings are up by about 15-20%.
Without going into a lot of specifics that may or may not help anyone else, I'll just say that sometimes less is more...
I'll add to the positive messages. Gladly!
Adsense has been a bit of a roller coaster for us since we started with it in January 04.
Did 4 figures in the third month and thought DANG! this is awesome stuff. My son talked me in to it. I just never thought it would pay more than a couple of bucks per month. (I've eaten a bit of crow over the last year but I still love him.) But we never again broke into 4 figures in spite of lots of tweaking.
First of this month? It was suddenly down to lunch at McDonalds each day. Dropped by 50% or more. We worked. Changed. Experimented. Prayed. Did it all over again.
This last week? I'd say the changes are working. Nearly three figures PER DAY!
Will it hold? I'll know for sure in a couple of months but for right now I'm loving it! (Whether it *held* - past tense. No guarantees.)
1500 impressions daily.
10% to 12% click through
Yeah. I'm happy.
I've been running Adsense almost since it was launched, and I'm happy to be making something with it. I feel that it should be higher, though I feel the content of my site perhaps doesn't attract the higher paying ads. I'll get 30,000 - 50,000 page views per day, and get a CTR of less then 0.50%
I've tried the tips of changing layouts, sizes, colors, etc, and it always seems to be about the same. I've bought the $79 Adsense guides...which just tell me everything I aready knew.
I guess I don't sound happy, but I'm fairly satisfied, it's just when I hear of people making $1k per month or more that I wonder what I need to do to get to that level.
|But, as far as 'uplifting' stories - back in Jan, (if memory serves me right), I redid my whole site, and my CTR went up 8x - from 1%-2% to 10%. So, yes I say, play around!... of course now I'm too scared to play around some more |
Know the feeling! I'm loth to change anything as the current CTR and earnings are too good to mess with. Any changes I make tend to be very minor and watched verrrrry closely.
|I've been running Adsense almost since it was launched, and I'm happy to be making something with it. I feel that it should be higher, though I feel the content of my site perhaps doesn't attract the higher paying ads. I'll get 30,000 - 50,000 page views per day, and get a CTR of less then 0.50% |
I've tried the tips of changing layouts, sizes, colors, etc, and it always seems to be about the same. I've bought the $79 Adsense guides...which just tell me everything I aready knew.
I'm not sure about the low income being due to low paying ads. I have a feeling (and I may be wrong here) that Smart pricing will adjust the payment and what advertisers pay for a click on a particular page based partly on the CTR and page views of a page. If you could increase the ctr, then I have a feeling that the same ads would generate you a better payment.
I think the bottom line is that adsense works well on some sites, but not on others - as does selling stuff through affilliates. Adsense works great for me, but affilliates earned absolutely zilch and I dropped them all. Your site may well be monetised better with other forms of advertising - have you tried any?
My happy story... Revamp of site has increased profit 900% over the last few days (profit in my case=AdSense Income minus AdWord spend). Apart from the fact it all looks a bit nicer and is better organised, the changes were:
- Using 2 300x300 blocks for ads
- If you imagine the site area split into squares three across and four down and numbered left to right, the ads are in square 1 and 5 (ish)
- On the home page, there's just one adblock, but the link that 90% of visitors are most likely to click on first (our headline article) is in square 5; which means that they click, the article page loads and (perhaps) their line of sight/focus/mouse is right on the block of ads that appears in the article, making that their first point of attention.
- All ads are blended, but the top left set have our own CSS border around them.
- All table layouts replaced with divs and spans, which has meant we can put all the keyword rich content at the top of the code and group it together a bit more naturally.
- I adjusted my CMS system to automaticallly paginate long articles into shorter pages with click-to-next-page:<h1>title</h1> at the end of each; that's given us a big increase in page views.
- Finally, I put my trust in G's technology - so rather than being very cautions with what appears inside H1 tags (i.e. sticking to my main keyword topic), I switched to making almost all elements on the page dynamic based on the article content. At first this seemed (to me) to be pulling up ads that seemed related, but not what I wanted to see - BUT - seems my readers want to see them because they're clicking on them and coming back for more...
It's all working nicely so far... :)
You can only squeeze so much juice from a small number of impressions. I think I'd focus on getting more traffic through the search engines if possible and/or consider running some low cost advertising to get the word out and boost traffic for a month or two and see if it sticks with repeat visitors and such.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:41 pm (utc) on April 3, 2005]
|I'll get 30,000 - 50,000 page views per day, and get a CTR of less then 0.50% |
With that many page views, unless the ad prices for your keywords are just pitifully low, breaking 3 digits a day should be a breeze. If you're really getting 30,000 AdSense impressions you only need 2% CTR with an average of $0.20 EPC to get $120/day. I think that amount of earnings minimum is very doable in most cases with your traffic.
Is your site content oriented or a blog or forum? The latter seem to do worse based on what I've been reading.
I'm almost tempted to ask you to give me a shot at marketing it and we can split the difference :)
|The worst part of higher earnings is that increasingly larger pit in the bottom of my stomach that says it won't last. |
Agreed. Im close to averaging $1k / day and every day that passes I get more and more eager for Yahoo or MSN to launch their programs so I can diversify my income and subsequent risk. For a company that has always been reasonably open, Google is being very secretive as to how their payouts are structured and also kills accounts seemingly at whim :( :( :(
Bill, my site is a blog-style updated daily that reviews stories of the day in the Boston area media. It's a very popular destination, not to brag too much, but regularly mentioned on local radio, made the NY Times in February, and a guy who writes a sub-blog for me is a regular guest on The O'Reilly Factor.
I should mention that a lot of the impressions do also come from a forum attached to the site. But I get more clicks on the main page, which still has 10K + impressions a day.
I think the ads shown on my site are very low paying.
Heck, if you could help me get 3 digits daily, I MIGHT just split it with you.
i have read your post and i want to ask you maybe you can give me a idea.
I have a site with tutorials (almost 3000 now and growing with more than 200 evry day)I have visitators but they didnn't click n my ads.
Something is wrong
what should i change on this site <snip>
thank you for your time
[edited by: Woz at 10:01 am (utc) on April 5, 2005]
[edit reason] no self URLs please, see TOS#13 [/edit]
"I'll get 30,000 - 50,000 page views per day, and get a CTR of less then 0.50%"
I get 3,000 - 5,000 page views per day, and get a CTR of 15%
My site is relatively small but i hit the tops on many most competitive terms ,and i have placed the adds at the best place.So there are 2 factors number one be at the top 10 for competitive money topics number two place the adds at the right place.
with $1k profit daily, u should really be thinking about diversifying it outside of the web... :)
btw, whats the traffic and ctr you need to get that kind of revenue?
"btw, whats the traffic and ctr you need to get that kind of revenue"
i can get it easy by adding 2000 more pages next month.
are you making $10k+/daily and $1k increase is small change for you? -small percent increase, if you already have the traffic to go with it - makes sense.
if you're making $100/day or even $500/day, I am a bit incredulous to accept that you can somehow boost your revenue by 200%+ just like that. What I'm saying is - since you're so kind to say you can do it that easily, where exactly are you coming from.
care to share the best placement for ads?
Hey, WebAce, you make a post like that and everyone has questions.
Have you added that many pages before and not been penalized by Google for adding too many pages too quickly? What percentage of your total pages would that 2,000 represent?
I added a few hundred a couple of weeks ago and that's when I really started bringing in some coin (well, for me anyway) but now I'm really apprehensive about adding any more pages for a while.
Part of me says since I quadtrupled the content and picked up lots more traffic maybe Goog doesn't care so I should quickly add some more pages. Another part says, hmmm, not enough time has passed for Google to react. a. be patient and build slowly or, on the other hand, b. gonna get banged on the serps anyway so go for it and then there's:
webace still hasn't replied - were we baited?
I'd sure be curious as to the AdSense positions generating 15% CTR!
Nice post bill! im a little late, just joined the other day! :) hehe
Ehh have to say, im glad on your behalf, but im only getting like
CRT= .5 .6 with about 40k - 50k hits on the adsense stats per day...!
I have tryed to optimise it but dosent help, with out any changes a month can go about 2000usd and other month can go 800usd im realy fustrated.. :(
Hi Media, I know your site well.
Have you ever tried putting some text right above the column ad, so that adsense might serve higher paying stuff?I'm sure the word tickets might help, since right now the ads on your index page look like $.05 junk ads....
Right now my CTR is 11% and I find that disappointing- it used to be 24%... a lot has changed- and I think it's because many of the pages bringing higher CTR lost SERP is the late March alg shift.
Best ad placement I've found is right smack in the middle of the page, the 250x250 ad... this is where most people's eyes go soon after page loading, and where they stay the longest. What did I care if ppl were only staying for 13 seconds?
eCPM is dropping- avg this month is $19.34... was more like $40 in Feb, and I was making $700 per day.
Overall earnings have dropped by 90% due to another problem, which is that though my pageviews have only dropped by 50%, the % of my pageviews that show up as impressions has dropped by 70%... and not immediately either- there was an immediate change with the rankings alg change, and then another one a few weeks later.
Whatever has changed, the effect has been to reduce cost to advertisers- but I certainly wonder what is happening on the pageviews that AS isn't counting as impressions >-(
I am actively seeking other monetization strategies, because either AdSense is broken or greedy.
But, I admit, I haven't looked at which ads are showing- hard to do when you have 2000 pages and are churning out more every day. Too many things to do, too little time ;-)
Thought I'd post some good news from my corner. I did a little experiment and replaced my 2nd banners with adlinks.
Looks like my earnings are going to tripple what they previously were. I still need about 10x the earnings to quit my day job but it's a nice start.
I'm almost thinking of setting the adlinks to be the main ad on the pages but with that good of a result I'm afraid to touch it.
Thanks for the thread Bill!
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